Tulsa Health Department

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa County on Wednesday again broke a record for most new confirmed COVID-19 infections reported in a single day, and, as the spread continues to worsen, officials said they are discussing the possibility of making the wearing of masks mandatory and enforceable by law.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — For most mayors in deep-red states like Oklahoma, the prospect of hosting the first rally for President Donald Trump in months would be a delight. It would showcase the city on an international stage and draw revenue for local businesses that have been shuttered for months amid the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Sen. James Lankford

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) spoke with KWGS News' Chris Polansky on Monday, June 15th, about police reform following last month's killing of George Floyd, Black Tulsans' outrage over President Trump's initial Juneteenth date for a Tulsa rally (and his role in getting it changed), whether he thinks the rally should continue despite warnings from local and federal public health experts, and whether he intends to wear a mask to the rally.

Full transcript:

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported Sunday that 158 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 bring the state's total number of confirmed infections to 8,231. No new deaths were reported; 359 Oklahomans are confirmed to have died from complications caused by the novel coronavirus.

Tulsa County had 39 of the new reported cases, bringing the county total to 1,564 confirmed infections since the start of the pandemic. 62 Tulsa County residents are known to have died.

6,578 Oklahomans are reported to have recovered. 

Tulsa Health Department

One week before President Donald Trump is scheduled to host a campaign rally at Tulsa's BOK Center, local and national health experts are warning that large indoor gatherings have the potential to further worsen the still-growing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Tulsa Flag

Tulsa and the rest of Oklahoma officially moved to phase three of reopening Monday, lifting several more restrictions implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

In Tulsa, events can resume without size limits, outdoor park amenities and dog parks can be used again, community centers are reopening, and businesses that were operating by appointment only can start taking walk-in customers. 

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said people must remain vigilant in taking safety precautions like wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing and frequently washing their hands.

Tulsa officials on Friday said the city and county are ready to follow the state into phase three of a reopening plan on Monday.

As of Friday, Tulsa County had 983 total confirmed cases of COVID-19, 158 active cases and 51 deaths. Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Doctor Bruce Dart said the county's case trend is almost flat and hospitalization rates are trending up but remain manageable.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said he does not have the same concerns proceeding to phase three as he did going into phase one, however, because the main benchmark is hospital capacity.

THD

Tulsa County restaurants that reopen their dining rooms Friday must keep parties 6 feet apart, according to guidance from the Tulsa Health Department.

That will be one of the most noticeable changes.

Libby Billings courtesy Libby Billings; Thomas Hunter courtesy Oklahoma Restaurant Association

Following prolonged mandated closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, and with the blessings of both Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and a reluctant Mayor G.T. Bynum, Tulsa restaurants will be permitted starting Friday to welcome guests back to eat in their dining rooms.

Not too many are seizing that opportunity, though.

"Absolutely not," said restaurateur Libby Billings, whose downtown Tulsa eateries include The Vault, Roppongi, and Elote. 

Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, told the Tulsa World on Monday that each patient in Tulsa County who tests positive for COVID-19 provides an average of 36 potentially exposed persons for the department to trace.

Nearly two dozen business, nonprofit and health leaders will help plan the reopening of Tulsa’s economy after the COVID-19 threat begins to decline.

The Mayor's Economic Recovery Advisory Committee in partnership with the Tulsa Regional Chamber will look at steps other cities and states are taking to come up with a phased approach for Tulsa.

Courtesy

Mayor G.T. Bynum said Tuesday he will follow the Tulsa Health Department’s guidance on when to start lifting restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

President Donald Trump wants to reopen the U.S. on May 1, which health experts have warned may be unrealistic.

Bynum said he will only act after infection and hospitalizations rates start declining, and restrictions will be loosened slowly.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

The COVID-19 social distancing and symptom guidelines are provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. For information and updates visit CORONAVIRUS.HEALTH.OK.GOV. You can call the call center at 877-215-8396 or 2-1-1. Visit HERE for the symptom checker.